‘Refuting’ the Chief Justice
This refers to the news item titled “Corona on ‘ill-gotten wealth’: I’m not stupid.” (Inquirer, 1/12/12) We beg to disagree with Chief Justice Renato Corona.
1. It was not smart for him to accept his midnight appointment as chief justice amid the controversy that accompanied it.
2. It is not brilliant—but totally pathetic—for him to portray that the Supreme Court decision on the Hacienda Luisita case is the reason the Aquino administration is trying to get him out of the Supreme Court. When President Aquino refused to take his oath of office before Corona, the Supreme Court had not yet decided on the Hacienda Luisita case. P-Noy had been assailing Corona’s acceptance of the chief justice position as illegal long before the Hacienda Luisita case was decided. This Hacienda Luisita fib is an afterthought, a case of putting the cart before the horse.
3. It was not intelligent for Corona—when he was asked for the first time why he accepted the controversial appointment—to answer that “It was my dream, and the dream of every lawyer to be a chief justice.” Former Sen. Rene Saguisag was offered the position of associate justice of the Supreme Court long before former Chief Justice Hilario Davide was named to the Supreme Court, but he declined because, he said, there were others more deserving of the position. The lawyers who were recommended by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to the position of chief justice, and whose names were on the JBC list with Corona’s, declined the recommendation, citing as reason the clear and pertinent provisions of the Constitution. Corona seems never to have grasped the sacredness of the position of chief justice. It is not a matter of ambition, sir, but a calling.
4. It is plainly foolish for Corona to assume that the public believes the declaration in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) that the 300-sq m condominium unit he purchased in the Bellagio costs only P6.8 million. One parking lot already costs P2 million. Assuming that the parking unit has an area of 15-sq m, it therefore makes the value of the 300-sq m condominium unit at least P40 million (15 sq m at 2 m x 300 sq m). And the market value per square meter of a condominium unit costs much higher than that of a parking lot!
5. Lastly, when he declared that “Kamatayan lang ang mag-aalis sa akin sa pwesto ko,” he showed a narrow mind. Corona should have been taught that there are such words as “sakripisyo,” “kahihiyan” and “delikadesa,” which are honorable and acceptable reasons for resigning. Remember that the core issue in the impeachment trial is Corona’s moral fitness to be chief justice, a position that at one time or another was held by noble jurists like Jose P. Laurel, Claudio Teehankee and Davide. It is not the Supreme Court that is on trial before the Senate, it is the person who may destroy the institution that he is supposed to serve.
—JOSE HONG GONZALES,
League of Attorneys and Union
of Reformist for the Enjoyment
of Liberty (Laurel),
Sta. Cruz, Virac, Catanduanes;